By ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi
Translated by Mohiuddin Ahmad
Introduction: The celebrated scholar and thinker of the 20th Century, ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi in his famous work entitled Tarikh Da’wat wa ‘l-’Azimat, translated into English as Saviours of Islamic Spirit, writes about an interesting coincidence regarding the spiritual progenies of two great scholars – Shaykh Ahmad al-Sirhindi Mujaddid Alf al-Thani and Qutb al-Din Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi. ‘Allamah Nadwi writes:
It is a happy coincidence that Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi bears a resemblance to Mujaddid Alf al-Thani, the founder of the Naqshbandiyyah-Mujaddidiyyah order to which he belonged. Four of the Mujaddid’s sons; Khawaja Muhammad Sadiq, Khawaja Muhammad Sa’id, Khawaja Muhammad Ma’sum and Khawaja Muhammad Yahya had attained eminence and spiritual Continue reading →
Is ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami a reliable author and scholar of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah? Is it true that in Shawahid al-Nubuwwah he has written, “I testify there is no God but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, and I testify that Ali is the Wasi of the Prophet Muhammad”?
My response to the incident allegedly quoted by Mawlana Jami follows:
Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad al-Jami was a great scholar and Sufi who died in 898 H. He excelled in various fields, such as grammar, philosophy, logic, theology and jurisprudence, in which field he followed the Hanafi school. In addition he was a refined poet of the Persian language.
The Sunni viewpoint that leadership after Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had to be decided upon through consultation, and you use two verses of the Qur’an to prove their point. However, it is an undeniable fact that the second khalifah, ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) was appointed by the first khalifah, Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) and not chosen through some method of consultation. This indicates to me that Abu Bakr went against the Qur’an by not consulting the people, and ‘Umar also went against the Qur’an by allowing himself to be put into a position of power in an illegitimate fashion, i.e. appointment by Abu Bakr. How do you reconcile their action with your theory that the matter of leadership must be decided by consultation with the community?
In 1893 Mawlana Muhammad ‘Ali Mongheri (d. 1918) and some of his colleagues founded the intellectual movement of Nadwat al-’Ulama. But it was only five years later in 1898 that Nadwat al-’Ulama, as an educational institution of higher Islamic learning, came into existence at a crucial time when the Muslim intellectuals were divided into two groups. One group was termed the modernists since they were influenced by Western education and its sciences and civilization. They were in essence the product of the western system of education and indoctrination. The other group was the orthodox Muslims whose role models were the ‘ulama. The great majority of ‘ulama was not ready to reconcile and accommodate the Western system of education. They regarded the Islamic religious curriculum that was already in vogue to be perfect and final. Hence, they viewed any attempt not to conform to that set Islamic religious educational pattern as an act of subversion and an innovation that could not be tolerated at any cost. However, amongst Continue reading →
At the turn of the eighteenth century a notable Muslim family, whose members were respected for their religious knowledge, settled in Lucknow. Mulla Qutb aI-Din (d. 1691) who had always retained close links with the Moghul court in Delhi was the head of that family. He was a member of the committee that was appointed by Emperor Aurangzeb (d. 1708) with the task of compiling religious edicts on various issues affecting the Muslim community which came to be known as al-Fatawa al-’Alamghriyyah. At this juncture, it may be pertinent to mention that since that particular Muslim family occupied a French mansion that was given to them by the Moghul rulers, that family came to be referred to as Farangi Mahal.
Madrasah Mazahir al-’Ulum Saharanpur was established in November 1866 just months after Dar al-’Ulum Deoband was founded in May 1866. One of the aims and objectives of Dar al-’Ulum Deoband’s establishment was to introduce such madrasahs and Islamic seminaries across the country. Following this, a number of such madrasahs were started in several cities. Many such madrasahs were started in Delhi, Meerut, Khurja, Buland Shahar, Amroha, Saharanpur etc. But, Mazahir al-’Ulum in Saharanpur is the most popular from amongst all these madrasahs and is renown for producing great ‘ulama and scholars of hadith.
Excerpted from the unpublished PhD thesis of Dr. Atif Suhail Siddiqui. A study of the two schools of Islamic theology viz. the Ash’ariyyah and the Maturidiyyah.
Founder of Asha’irah
The Ash’ariyyah, sometimes also called Asha’irah or Ash’aris, were a theological school, the followers of Abu ‘l-Hasan al-Ash’ari (d. 324 H). Al-Ash’ari was born in the city of Basra, at that time one of the centres of intellectual ferment in Iraq, which, in turn, was the centre of the Muslim world. It is generally agreed that he belonged to the family of the celebrated companion of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (Allah be pleased with him), though some theologians opposed to his ideas contested the claim. Since this would have made him by birth a member of the Arab-Muslim aristocracy of the period, he would have received a careful education. Abu ‘l-Hasan al-Ash’ari belonged to a wealthy family, which enabled him to devote himself entirely to research and study.